I can see the look on your face. Huh? Edible Ink? What the heck do you use that for? I had the same thought when I’d first run across the phrase, but it turns out that there is an entire industry built around the art of printing something you can actually eat. The most common use for edible ink is to decorate cakes, and people far and wide are discovering that they can make their cakes into beautiful works of art with the ease of simply printing an image out from a computer.
Probably the best known company that makes these products is called Kopykake, based out of Torrance, California. This company makes edible ink cartridges that will fit various makes and models of standard printers that you can buy at most any electronics store, or which you may already own. You can buy cartridges for many different types of Canon printers, and even more Epson models are supported. The company carries standard cartridges and also a “Diamond Series,” which are supposed to prevent clogging.
So that’s all well and good, but what do you print on? Well naturally, the same company also makes edible frosting sheets. You simply load the sheets into your printer just like you would load any other type of paper, frosted side to the front, and you can print any kind of image you want on them with your edible ink. Just make sure you don’t get your ink mixed up! After printing the image, you are supposed to let the paper sit for 10 minutes at room temperature. After the ink has had a chance to set in, you can now peel the sheet from the backing and place it on top of a plain, freshly iced cake, preferably with buttercream frosting. You should gently pat the sheet down at this point, and it will absorb into the frosting, leaving the image intact.
The sheets come in various sizes and shapes, including squares, large circles, smaller circles, hearts, and business card shapes to name a few. In each case, the backing is the size of a standard sheet of paper so as to facilitate easier printing in a normal printer. The sheets are even Kosher certified, as the company has earned a Letter of Kosher Certification from DigitalKosher.com.
There are other accessories available as well, including a print cartridge steamer, which is used to unclog your cartridges if they get blocked. If you are using the edible inks all the time, this probably will not happen, but if you have a long gap between uses, the ink could dry in the printhead. In this case, it would be necessary to use the steamer to moisten the ink and clear the blockage.
So if you are ready to take your cakes to the next level, you might consider trying your hand at printing in edible inks. Your next cake is sure to “wow” everyone who sees it, and you’ll probably end up making cakes for everyone you know!